Companion to the Standing Orders and guide to the Proceedings of the House of Lords


7.35  The second reading is the stage at which the general principles of the bill are considered. The Lord in charge of the bill says, "My Lords, I beg to move that this bill be now read a second time", and makes the case for the bill. In their speeches other members of the House may indicate the way in which they consider the bill requires amendment and the general nature of amendments which they will propose later, but discussion of points of detail should normally be left to the committee stage.

Opposition to second reading

7.36  A bill may be opposed on second reading in three ways:

7.37  The agreement of the House to any of the above means automatic rejection of the bill. The question as amended is not put, and the bill is removed from the list of bills in progress.

Second reading agreed to with amendment

7.38  In addition to amendments in opposition to the second reading of a bill, amendments may be moved which do not seek to negative the second reading but invite the House to put on record a particular point of view in agreeing to the second reading.

Procedure on amendments to second reading motion

7.39  Notice is required on the order paper of any amendment to the motion for second reading. If notice has been given of more than one amendment, they are dealt with in the order in which they relate to the motion, or, if they relate to the same place in the motion, in the order in which they were tabled. In such cases it is usual for the whole debate to take place on the first amendment, and the members who tabled the other amendments speak in this debate to indicate the reason why they prefer their own amendments. When the debate is concluded, the Question is put on each amendment successively, or on so many of them as need to be disposed of before a positive decision is reached. If an amendment opposing the second reading is agreed to, the Bill is rejected and no further Question is put. In any other case, the Question on the original motion or on the original motion as amended is then finally put and decided.

Motion for adjournment of second reading debate

7.40  It is also possible to move that the second reading debate be adjourned, with or without notice or reasons. Such a motion, if agreed to, does not prevent the motion for the second reading being put down for a subsequent day.

257   It is now uncommon for such opposition to take place, because notice of it, which is desirable in the interests of good order, cannot be given on the order paper. Back

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